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Order Code RL33572

Biofuels Incentives: A Summary of
Federal Programs

Updated January 3, 2007

Brent D. Yacobucci
Specialist in Energy Policy
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Biofuels Incentives:
A Summary of Federal Programs

Summary
With recent high energy prices and the passage of major energy legislation in
2005 (P.L. 109-58), there is ongoing congressional interest in promoting alternatives
to petroleum fuels. Biofuels — transportation fuels produced from plants and other
organic materials — are of particular interest.

Ethanol and biodiesel, the two most widely used biofuels, receive significant
government support under this law in the form of mandated fuel use, tax incentives,
loan and grant programs, and certain regulatory requirements. The 17 programs and
provisions listed in this report have been established over the past 27 years, and are
administered by five separate agencies and departments: Environmental Protection
Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Internal Revenue
Service, and Customs and Border Protection. These programs target a variety of
beneficiaries, including farmers and rural small businesses, biofuel producers,
petroleum suppliers, and fuel marketers. Arguably, the most significant federal
programs for biofuels have been tax credits for the production or sale of ethanol and
biodiesel. However, with the establishment of the renewable fuels standard (RFS)
under P.L. 109-58, Congress has mandated biofuels use. In the long term, this
mandate may prove even more significant than tax incentives in promoting the use
of these fuels.

This report outlines federal programs that provide direct or indirect incentives
for biofuels. For each program described, the report provides details including
administering agency, authorizing statute(s), annual funding, and expiration date.
The Appendix provides summary information in a table format.
Contents

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Renewable Fuel Standard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Small Ethanol Producer Credit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Biodiesel Tax Credit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Small Agri-Biodiesel Producer Credit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Special Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biomass Ethanol
Plant Property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Department of Agriculture (USDA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Bioenergy Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements . . . . . . . . 4
Value-Added Producer Grants Program (VAPG) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Biorefinery Development Grants (Unfunded) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Other USDA Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Department of Energy (DOE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Biomass Research and Development Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Biorefinery Project Grants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Loan Guarantees for Ethanol and Commercial Byproducts from
Cellulose, Municipal Solid Waste, and Sugar Cane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
DOE Loan Guarantee Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Cellulosic Biofuels Production Incentive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

U.S. Customs and Border Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Import Duty for Fuel Ethanol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Appendix. Summary of Federal Incentives Promoting for Biofuels . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Biofuels Incentives:
A Summary of Federal Programs

Introduction
With recent high energy prices and the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005
(P.L. 109-58), there is ongoing congressional interest in promoting greater use of
alternatives to petroleum fuels. Biofuels — transportation fuels produced from plants
and other organic materials — are of particular interest. Ethanol and biodiesel, the
two most widely used biofuels, receive significant federal support in the form of tax
incentives, loan and grant programs, and regulatory programs.1 Further action on
biofuels is likely as Congress takes up a new Farm Bill in the 110th Congress.2

This report outlines 17 current and expired federal programs and provisions
(plus one authorized but unfunded program) that provide direct or indirect incentives
for biofuels. The programs are grouped below by administering agency. The
incentives for biofuels are summarized in the Appendix. This information is
compiled from authorizing statutes, committee reports, and Administration budget
request documents.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Renewable Fuel Standard
Administered by: EPA
Annual funding: N/A
FY2007 budget request: N/A
Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1501 (P.L. 109-58)
Scheduled termination: None
Description: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a renewable fuels standard
(RFS) for automotive fuels. The RFS requires the blending of renewable fuels

1
For more information on ethanol, see CRS Report RL33290, Fuel Ethanol: Background
and Public Policy Issues, by Brent D. Yacobucci. For more information on biofuels in
general, see CRS Report RL30758, Alternative Transportation Fuels and Vehicles: Energy,
Environment, and Development Issues, by Brent D. Yacobucci, and CRS Report RL32712,
Agriculture-Based Renewable Energy Production, by Randy Schnepf.
2
For more information on the Farm Bill, see CRS Report RL33037, Previewing a 2007
Farm Bill, by Jasper Womach.
CRS-2

(including ethanol and biodiesel) in gasoline.3 In 2006, fuel suppliers must blend 4.0
billion gallons of renewable fuel into gasoline, increasing annually to 7.5 billion
gallons in 2012. For subsequent years, EPA is required to set a minimum ratio for
renewable content, no less than the ratio in 2012. On September 22, 2006, EPA
issued a proposed rule on the RFS program detailing compliance standards for fuel
suppliers, as well as a system to trade renewable fuel credits between suppliers.4
While this program is not a direct incentive for the construction of biofuels plants,
the guaranteed market created by the renewable fuel standard is expected to stimulate
growth of the biofuels industry.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit
Administered by: Internal Revenue Service
Annual funding: N/A
Established: 2005 by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, §301 (P.L. 108-357)
Scheduled termination: December 31, 2010
Description: Gasoline suppliers who blend ethanol with gasoline are eligible for a tax
credit of 51 cents per gallon of ethanol.
Qualified applicant: Blenders of gasohol (i.e., gasoline suppliers and marketers)
For more information: IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and
Refunds [http://www.irs.gov/publications/p510/ch02.html]

Small Ethanol Producer Credit
Administered by: Internal Revenue Service
Annual funding: N/A
Established:1990 by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, §11502 (P.L.
101-508); expanded by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1347 (P.L. 109-58)
Scheduled termination: December 31, 2007
Description: The small ethanol producer credit is valued at 10 cents per gallon of
ethanol produced. The credit may be claimed on the first 15 million gallons of
ethanol produced by a small producer in a given year.
Qualified applicant: Any ethanol producer with production capacity below 60
million gallons per year
For more information: IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and
Refunds [http://www.irs.gov/publications/p510/ch02.html]

Biodiesel Tax Credit
Administered by: Internal Revenue Service

3
The requirement is for renewable fuel in gasoline. However, biodiesel is blended with
diesel fuel, not gasoline. P.L. 109-58 requires EPA to promulgate regulations for blenders
to earn and trade renewable fuel credits for biodiesel blending.
4
71 Federal Register 55551-55600.
CRS-3

Annual funding: N/A
Established: 2005 by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, §302 (P.L. 108-357);
extended by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1344 (P.L. 109-58)
Scheduled termination: December 31, 2008
Description: Biodiesel producers (or producers of diesel/biodiesel blends) can claim
a per-gallon tax credit. The credit is valued at $1.00 per gallon of “agri-biodiesel”
(biodiesel produced from virgin agricultural products such as soybean oil or animal
fats), or 50 cents per gallon of biodiesel produced from previously used agricultural
products (e.g., recycled fryer grease).
Qualified applicant: Biodiesel producers and blenders
For more information: IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and
Refunds [http://www.irs.gov/publications/p510/ch02.html]

Small Agri-Biodiesel Producer Credit
Administered by: Internal Revenue Service
Annual funding: N/A
Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §1345 (P.L. 109-58)
Scheduled termination: December 31, 2008
Description: The small agri-biodiesel producer credit is valued at 10 cents per gallon
of “agri-biodiesel” (see Biodiesel Tax Credit, above) produced. The credit may be
claimed on the first 15 million gallons of ethanol produced by a small producer in a
given year.
Qualified applicant: Any agri-biodiesel producer with production capacity below 60
million gallons per year
For more information: IRS Publication 510, Chapter 2: Fuel Tax Credits and
Refunds [http://www.irs.gov/publications/p510/ch02.html]

Special Depreciation Allowance for Cellulosic Biomass
Ethanol Plant Property
Administered by: Internal Revenue Service
Annual funding: N/A
Established: 2006 by the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, §209 (P.L. 109-
432)
Scheduled termination: December 31, 2012
Description: A taxpayer may take a depreciation deduction of 50% of the adjusted
basis of a new cellulosic ethanol plant in the year it is put in service. The accelerated
depreciation applies only to cellulosic ethanol plants that break down cellulose
through enzymatic processes (as opposed to gasification). Any portion of the cost
financed through tax-exempt bonds is exempted from the depreciation allowance.
Qualified applicant: Any enzymatic cellulosic ethanol plant acquired after December
20, 2006, and placed in service before January 1, 2013. Any plant that had a binding
contract for acquisition before December 20, 2006, does not qualify.
For more information: See Senate Finance Committee, Summary of House-Senate
Agreement on Tax, Trade, Health, and Other Provisions, December 7, 2006.
CRS-4

Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Bioenergy Program
Administered by: Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC)
Annual funding: $100 million appropriated for FY2005, $60 million for FY2006; up
to $150 million authorized annually for FY2004 through FY2006
FY2007 budget request: $0
Established: FY2001 in response to Executive Order 13134 (August 12, 1999)
Developing and Promoting Biobased Products and Bioenergy, through CCC’s
general authority to conduct commodity programs; extended by the Farm Security
and Rural Investment Act of 2002, §9010 (P.L. 101-171)
Termination: End of FY2006
Description: The Bioenergy Program reimbursed ethanol and biodiesel producers for
expanding their production capacity. Payments helped defray the purchase cost of
the additional commodities needed for that expansion. The amount of each payment
was based on the change in production capacity, as well as the number of applicants
selected for funding. Eligible commodities included grain and oilseed crops (e.g.
barley, corn, soybeans), cellulosic crops (e.g. switchgrass, rice hulls), animal fats,
agricultural byproducts, and oils.
Qualified applicant: Any ethanol or biodiesel producer who expanded production
capacity

Renewable Energy Systems and Energy
Efficiency Improvements
Administered by: Rural Business Cooperative Service
Annual funding: $23 million for all projects through FY2006, including biofuels
projects; reduced in FY2007
FY2007 budget request: $10.2 million
Established: FY2003 by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, §9006
(P.L. 101-171); funding authorization for FY2007 reduced to $3 million by §1301
of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-171)
Scheduled termination: End of FY2007
Description: This program provides grants, loans, and loan guarantees for the
development of renewable energy projects and energy efficiency improvements. The
construction of a biofuel plant could be an eligible project. Grants are limited to 25%
of the costs of the project; loans are limited to 50% of the cost of the project.
Qualified applicant: Farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses
For more information: [http://www.rurdev.usda.gov]

Value-Added Producer Grants Program (VAPG)
Administered by: Rural Business Cooperative Service
Annual funding: $20.5 million appropriated for FY2006 (up from $15.5 million in
FY2005); part of a $40 million total annual authorization for several value-added
programs
FY2007 budget request: $20.3 million
CRS-5

Established: FY2001, expanded in FY2003 to include renewable energy projects by
the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, §6401 (P.L. 101-171); the
Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, §1402 (P.L. 109-171), requires that all previously
appropriated funds unobligated by October 1, 2006 be returned to the Treasury
Scheduled termination: End of FY2007
Description: VAPG provides grants to independent producers for the development
of value-added agricultural activities, including biofuel production. The grants can
be used for feasibility studies, the development of a business plan, or to acquire
working capital to operate a value-added business. Grants are limited to $500,000
per recipient.
Qualified applicant: Independent producer, producer group, cooperative, or a
majority-controlled producer-based business venture
For more information: [http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm]

Biorefinery Development Grants (Unfunded)
Administered by: If funded, it would likely be administered by USDA’s Rural
Development Agency
Annual funding: $0
Established: 2002 by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, §9003
(P.L. 101-171)
Scheduled termination: End of FY2007
Description: This program was established by the Farm Security and Rural
Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 101-171); however, no funding has been provided. If
funded, the program would provide grants for the development and construction of
biorefineries, including those that produce biofuels.
Qualified applicant: Virtually any non-federal entity (including a national laboratory)
or group of entities that plans to build a biorefinery
For more information: N/A

Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loans
Administered by: Rural Business Cooperative Service
Annual funding: Approximately $1 billion in loans are guaranteed annually
Scheduled termination: None
Description: This program provides guarantees for up to 90% of a loan made by a
commercial lender. Loan proceeds may be used for working capital, machinery and
equipment, buildings and real estate, and certain types of debt refinancing.
Qualified applicant: Virtually any legal entity.
For more information: [http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/b&i_gar.htm]

Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG)
Administered by: Rural Business Cooperative Service
Annual funding: Approximately $40 million in each of FY2005 and FY2006
Scheduled termination: None
Description: RBEG provides grants to finance and facilitate development of small
and emerging private rural business enterprises. The grant is awarded to a third party
to assist a business; grant funds do not go directly to the business.
CRS-6

Qualified applicant: Public bodies, private nonprofit corporations, and federally
recognized Indian Tribal groups.
For more information: [http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/rbeg.htm]

Other USDA Programs
The following programs within the Rural Business Cooperative Service could
possibly be used to assist biofuels producers indirectly:

! Rural Economic Development Loan Program;
! Rural Development Loan Program;
! Rural Economic Development Grants.

Department of Energy (DOE)
Biomass Research and Development Initiative
Administered by: National Biomass Coordination Office (a joint DOE-USDA
program)
Annual funding: $14 million per year, decreased to $12 million in FY2006
FY2007 budget request: $12 million
Established: FY2001 by the Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000, §307
(P.L. 106-224); program extended and mandatory appropriations provided bythe
Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, §9008 (P.L. 101-171); program
extended and funding authorization expanded by the Energy Policy Act of 2005,
§941 (P.L. 109-58) — currently authorized at $200 million per year
Scheduled termination: End of FY2015
Description: Grants are provided for biomass research, development, and
demonstration projects. Eligible projects include ethanol and biodiesel demonstration
plants.
Qualified applicant: Wide range of possible applicants
For more information: [http://www.brdisolutions.com/default.aspx]

Biorefinery Project Grants
Administered by: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Annual funding: For FY2006 $91 million appropriated for the biomass program —
not all of this funding will go toward biorefinery project grants
FY2007 budget request: $150 million for entire biomass program
Established: FY2001 through funding authorized in various statutes
Scheduled termination: None
Description: This program provides funds for cooperative biomass research and
development for the production of fuels, electric power, chemicals, and other
products.
Qualified applicant: Varies from year to year, depending on program goals in a given
year
For more information: [http://www.eere.energy.gov/biomass/]
CRS-7

Loan Guarantees for Ethanol and Commercial Byproducts
from Cellulose, Municipal Solid Waste, and Sugar Cane
Administered by: DOE
Annual funding: Not specified
FY2007 budget request: $0
Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §§1510, 1511, and 1516 (P.L
109-58)
Scheduled termination: Varies, depending on specific program
Description: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes several programs to provide
loan guarantees for the construction of facilities that produce ethanol and other
commercial products from cellulosic material, municipal solid waste, or sugar cane.
Qualified applicant: Private lending institutions, to guarantee loans for the
construction of biofuels plants

DOE Loan Guarantee Program
Administered by: DOE
Annual funding: Not specified
FY2007 budget request: $2 million
Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Title XVII (P.L 109-58)
Scheduled termination: Not specified
Description: Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes DOE to provide
loan guarantees for energy projects that reduce air pollutant and greenhouse gas
emissions, including biofuels projects.
Qualified applicant: Private lending institutions, to guarantee loans for clean energy
projects.
For more information: [http://www.lgprogram.energy.gov/]

Cellulosic Biofuels Production Incentive
Administered by: DOE
Annual funding: $25 million total authorized for all fiscal years
FY2007 budget request: None
Established: 2005 by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, §942 (P.L 109-58)
Scheduled termination: Not specified
Description: Section 942 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes DOE to
provide per-gallon incentive payments for cellulosic biofuels until annual U.S.
production reaches 1 billion gallons or 2015, whichever is earlier. DOE accepted
comments on the program through July 14, 2006; DOE has yet to promulgate
regulations.
Qualified applicant: Any U.S. cellulosic biofuel production facility that meets
applicable permitting requirements, as well as any financial requirements set by
DOE.
CRS-8

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Import Duty for Fuel Ethanol
Administered by: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Annual funding: N/A
Established: 1980 by the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-499);
amended by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, §423 (P.L. 99-514; extended by the Tax
Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, §302 (P.L. 109-423).
Scheduled termination: December 31, 2008
Description: A 2.5% ad valorem tariff and a most-favored-nation duty of 54 cents per
gallon of ethanol (for fuel use) applies to imports into the United States from most
countries; most ethanol from Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) countries may be
imported duty-free.
Covered Entities: Fuel ethanol importers
For more information: CRS Report RS21930, Ethanol Imports and the Caribbean
Basin Initiative, by Brent D. Yacobucci; Senate Finance Committee, Summary of
House-Senate Agreement on Tax, Trade, Health, and Other Provisions, December
7, 2006.
CRS-9

Appendix. Summary of Federal Incentives Promoting for Biofuels

Original
Administering FY2006 Expiration
Program Description Authorizing
Agency Funding Date
Legislation

Environmental Renewable Fuels Mandated use of renewable fuel in gasoline: 4.0 P.L. 109-58 N/A None
Protection Agency Standard billion gallons in 2006, increasing to 7.5 billion §1501
gallons in 2012

Internal Revenue Volumetric Ethanol Gasoline suppliers who blend ethanol with gasoline P.L. 108-357 N/A End of 2010
Service Excise Tax Credit are eligible for a tax credit of 51 cents per gallon of §301
ethanol
Small Ethanol Producer An ethanol producer with less than 60 million gallons P.L. 101-508 N/A End of 2007
Credit per year in production capacity may claim a credit of
10 cents per gallon on the first 15 million gallons
produced in a year
Biodiesel Tax Credit Producers of biodiesel or diesel/biodiesel blends may P.L. 108-357 N/A End of 2008
claim a tax credit of $1.00 per gallon of agri-biodiesel
(produced from virgin agricultural products) or 50
cents per gallon of biodiesel from recycled products

Small Agri-Biodiesel An agri-biodiesel producer (see above) with less than P.L. 109-58 N/A End of 2008
Producer Credit 60 million gallons per year in production capacity
may claim a credit of 10 cents per gallon on the first
15 million gallons produced in a year
CRS-10

Original
Administering FY2006 Expiration
Program Description Authorizing
Agency Funding Date
Legislation

Special Depreciation Plants producing cellulosic ethanol through P.L. 109-432 N/A End of 2012
Allowance for Cellulosic enzymatic processes may take a 50% depreciation
Biomass Ethanol Plant allowance in the first year of operation, subject to
Property certain restrictions

Department of Bioenergy Program Reimburses ethanol and biodiesel producers for P.L. 101-171 $60 million End of FY2006
Agriculture feedstocks necessary to expand operations §9010

Renewable Energy Grants, loans, and loan guarantees for the P.L. 101-171 $23 million End of FY2007
Systems and Energy development of renewable energy projects and energy §9006
Efficiency Improvements efficiency improvements
Value-Added Producer Grants to independent producers for the development P.L. 101-171 $20.5 million End of FY2007
Grants of value-added agricultural activities, including §6401
biofuel production
Biorefinery Development If funded, would provide grants for the development P.L. 101-171 $0 End of FY2007
Grants - Unfunded and construction of biorefineries, including biofuel §9003
plants

Business and Industry Loan guarantees for various projects — could be used Various Approx. $1 None
(B&I) Guaranteed Loans for biofuels statutes billion

Rural Business Grants to finance and facilitate development of small Various Approx. $40 None
Enterprise Grants and emerging rural business enterprises statutes million
CRS-11

Original
Administering FY2006 Expiration
Program Description Authorizing
Agency Funding Date
Legislation

Department of Biomass Research and Grants for biomass research, development, and P.L. 106-224 $12 million End of FY2015
Energy Development Initiative demonstration projects

Biorefinery Project Funds cooperative R&D on biomass for fuels, power, Various $91 million None
Grants chemicals, and other products statutes
Loan Guarantees for Several programs of loan guarantees to construct P.L. 109-58 N/A Varies
Ethanol and Commercial facilities that produce ethanol and other commercial §§1510, 1511,
Byproducts from Various products from cellulosic material, municipal solid and 1516
Feedstocks waste, and/or sugarcane
DOE Loan Guarantee Loan guarantees for energy projects that reduce air P.L. 109-58 N/A None
Program pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, including Title XVII
biofuels projects
Production Incentives for Authorizes DOE to provide per-gallon payments to P.L. 109-58 N/A August 8 ,2015
Cellulosic Biofuels cellulosic biofuel producers §942
U.S. Customs and Import Duty for Fuel All imported ethanol is subject to a 2.5% ad valorem P.L. 96-499 N/A End of FY2007
Border Protection Ethanol tariff; fuel ethanol is also subject to a most-favored-
nation added duty of 54 cents per gallon (with some
exceptions)